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of american troops in afghanistan this weekend. >> reporter: before leaving to iraq america's defense secretary headed to afghanistan to see for himself the situation there and speak to the troops. this is the area where most of the fighting has been taking place in recent years and where the majority of u.s. forces are. this is his first overseas trip since being appointed to his new role and afghanistan is a key responsibility for panetta. the defense secretary has been very upbeat about the prospects of defeating al-qaeda during this trip. he said if they can keep the military pressure up on them and also capture or kill less than 20 of the terror group's key leaders still operating in countries between here and afghanistan and north africa, then they will have an effect strategically -- in effect strategically defeated them. his assessment comes as afghanistan prepares for the gradual drawdown of u.s. troops due to begin this summer. 10,000 are due to leave this year and another 23,000 in 2012. the defense secretary also said he hoped to drive the taliban to peace talks during the
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